Tag Archives: religious art

Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #18

The Passage

As a visual artist, I am continually challenged with the idea of what I am to say with the language and medium I have been given.  Most often in my case, the simple and profound message of hope as it points to our Creator through “the beautiful” is more than sufficient and provides all I that I wish to say with most subjects. In other words, the fact that I am struck by the simple elegance of a line in nature, or the moving harmony of two or more colors dancing together are more than enough reasons to record them and provide ample material for a work of great meaning.  However, there have been instances when I have been inspired to include an overarching narrative to depict an emotion or tell a story.  This painting “The Passage”, page 123, was one of those for me.

The inspiration for this work came in a vision of the completed painting that flashed in my mind as I lay in bed ready to retire for the day.  Just weeks earlier, during a time of great sadness, I had the privilege of being with my father as he breathed his last breath and lost the battle from a relatively short illness.  This moment of profound loss was also one of the more sacred times in my life.  As I witnessed his passing, I could not help but wonder how we are transported to the next realm and what his journey may have looked like.  I, in no way mean to conclude that this image has any historical accuracy, is substantiated by scripture, or is what our experience will look like.  I was simply following the inspiration and seeing it through.  What I am certain of is the great hope of eternal life we have through our Lord and I stand on that as I move ahead.

These following passages have always given me great comfort and offer such assurance.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25

I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.

Job 19:25

As to the execution of this work, various studies were completed on location of the model in twilight light on the shores of a river.  As you can see in the study, not much attention was paid to detail or proper drawing as the light was fleeting fast.  In this case, it was only important to capture accurate values and color relationships to translate the effect of light in the finished piece.  Later in the studio, I then transposed the key to create the desired lighting to better depict the mood.  Finally, a sketch was created one quarter size to work out the harmonies and final design before the finished canvas was begun.

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Blessings…


Technical Insights from “Not Far from Home” #14

Discouragement and “Forgiven”

Have you ever had a day when you were not sure that what you were doing had any meaning?  Or had the feeling that in light of all the world events, this practice of moving colored mud around a canvas may be overwhelmingly trivial.

I was having “one of those days” when I began this work, “Forgiven”.  I am grateful to have been given the energy to push through the discouragement of the moment, because as I began the preliminary drawing on the canvas and the charcoal followed the line of her skull, I was immediately exhilarated with a sense that I was exactly where I needed to be, doing precisely what I had been made for.  The simple act of mimicking the rhythmic and mathematical line of this Egyptian woman’s head created such a sensation…amazing.  I truly believe our Creator had this reaction in mind when our world was knit together. (Not just for me specifically or for artists in general, but for all who respond to His calling, whatever it may be).  For me, this changes everything.

For me it means that investing my time to study beauty and recording it for others to see in a fresh way has tremendous meaning.  This may be an obvious no-brainer to most, but for some reason I need to be reminded of this from time to time.

Discouragement can be a wicked taskmaster, but I find that if when facing it, I simply put myself in the position to be inspired, it will surely dissipate.  And what exactly do I mean by “putting myself in the position to be inspired”. For me, it is simply hiring a model and watching the beauty unfold as the light falls upon it.  Unfortunately, left to my own devices, this does not always happen on its own as it seems at times I would rather mope than be fruitful.  Fortunately, my wife Jennifer then gently reminds me to hire a model and allow myself to be moved… (thanks Jen).

On this week of Thanksgiving in America, among many other things, I am grateful to our Maker for the inspirations I have received and for His endless mercy and undeserved grace as I stumble my way through this life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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